Rarely would one bother to write or publish a book about a friend unless they not only were a good friend but also an unforgettable character in their life. Lee was such a friend to Kathleen; he strove to rise above his circumstances and live his life with an unyielding passion. Indeed, Lee made such an impact on author Kathleen Ingfried Haskins that she published a book about him, titled “The Unyielding Passion for Life of Lee Raymond Blanchette, a Remarkable Man” (Outskirts Pres s; 2020).
“The Unyielding Passion for Life of Lee Raymond Blanchette, a Remarkable Man” is a candid and honest life story of Lee Raymond Blanchette. The author was friends with Lee for almost 11 years, describing him as “a really charismatic fellow, very resourceful, caring, and enthusiastic at the time.” Lee was an above-the-knee amputee who plied his trade as a carpenter, had great love for the outdoors and animals, and, sadly, struggled with alcoholism.
One of Lee's most impressive and enduring trait was his love for animals, especially dolphins and dogs. Kathleen shares in her book that he kept several tanks and aquariums of fish when he was a teen. He especially loved dolphins because they can be trained to do rescue work, and Lee himself used to do recovery work of people who had drowned. Lee sported a pair of dolphin tattoos over his ribs on the right side in his pride at being considered a dolphin.
One item in Lee's bucket list was to swim with a dolphin named Winter, whom Lee really identified with because she had a prosthesis like he had and because he considered himself a dolphin. Actually, he identified with all animals and people with limb loss.
Winter lost her tail when she entangled it in the rope of a blue crab trap in 2011. The rope cut off the blood circulation to her tail. She was outfitted with a prosthetic tail.
Lee also loved dogs of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. Kathleen mentions in the book that Lee once saved a little dog that was locked up in a car with all the windows rolled up. The dog was barking forlornly, suffering heat stroke, so he broke the car window and took the dog to a store that provided dog water. In doing so, he saved the canine.
“The Unyielding Passion for Life of Lee Raymond Blanchette, a Remarkable Man”
Author | Kathleen Ingfried Haskins
Published date | December 20, 2020
Publisher | Outskirts Press
Book retail price | $19.95
Currently, Kathleen lives in Minneapolis near Lake of the Isles, loves to go for walks and play her lap dulcimer, and visits her parents as often as she can.
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